Lisa Richards Diebel, SVP People Team, Optum
What’s your current role?
My current role is SVP People Team at Optum, which is part of UnitedHealth Group. I have been with the company since 2011 and work with teams across the globe who perform clinical, health operations, technology and corporate work with a mission of helping people live healthier lives. My teams accelerate growth, advance talent, improve organization and deliver core People services. I am proud to be part of such a compelling mission.
When did you join the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST and what roles have you held within the TRUST?
I joined the TRUST in 2022 and currently serve as a Board Member. My favorite part of the TRUST is their dedication to supporting women in health in our communities. I am committed to doing more to build future talent, and it’s amazing to see the power of this group of women!
Do you have a favorite TRUST memory so far?
One of my favorite moments was the Annual Forum in the fall of 2022. I met people who were at their first large event post-pandemic. Everyone was so excited to connect face-to-face. There were hugs, laughter and genuine connections. The Well-being Retreat was also a favorite. We all can do more to invest in ourselves, so we can be there for others!
What one word summarizes what the TRUST means to you?
Over the past two years, we have seen the impact of being disconnected from our communities. Investing in authentic connections is great for well-being, and I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
Early in my career, I thought I was ready for a promotion. My boss’ sage advice was that other leaders also needed to believe I was ready, or I would lose credibility. I adopted this mindset throughout my career to love my work and focus on adding value rather than getting stuck on the job title or level.
My advice for mentoring is to seek a male mentor within your company. Many companies continue to be underrepresented in senior leadership roles for women and people of color, and advancement can be influenced by proximity and other biases. I have benefitted from many mentors, both formal and informal.
How do you support other women in their leadership journey?
I support many women in their leadership journey inside and outside my company. It’s my job, and I also believe it’s a gift I can share with others. I co-founded our women’s network at Optum and sponsor our Working Parent/Mom’s Employee Resource Group. While I was not comfortable earlier in my career talking about my family, I hope to inspire others that you can have a family and a career. Please connect with me if you are looking for advice or mentoring in this area!
What is something that not many people know about you?
As a child, I wanted to be an obstetrician or a midwife. Both of my younger brothers were delivered by a midwife. While I don’t think going back to school is in my future, I love that my career has come full circle, and I believe I am fulfilling a dream to impact health positively.
How do you maintain or improve your health and well-being? I run and do yoga to focus on my health and well-being. I do everything from running on the track or hitting the health club while my kids are at sports to scheduling yoga on my work calendar once a week. Not only is this a stress reliever, but my best ideas and solutions come while I’m on the running path. While I find it hard to take this precious time away from family, I believe being a role model for a healthy lifestyle is one of the best gifts I can give them.